Every year, I force my family to watch A Christmas Story before we fall asleep on Christmas Eve. My brother always protests that we've seen it a million times, but that doesn't matter. The cheesy, goofball nostalgia has a way of making everyone feel like a kid again. The movie snuggles you up and fills you with hope that the perfect gift might be hiding under the tree for you this year.
Though as many times as I've made my family sit down to watch it, I didn't know even half of these cool facts from behind the scenes. Can you imagine Jack Nicholson yelling at the Bumpasses' bum dogs?
1. Ralphie says he wants a "Red Ryder BB Gun" 28 times throughout the film.
2. Residents of Cleveland assisted with the film's production by volunteering their own antique cars to help keep the authentic appearance of the movie.
3. When you put the address of the actual house they used while filming (3159 W 11th Street, Cleveland, OH) into street view on Google Maps, you will see the infamous leg lamp in the home's front window.
4. A child can be seen wearing a digital Dukes of Hazard watch in the classroom scene.
5. A suction tube was used to make it seem like Flick's tongue was really stuck on the pole for the "Triple Dog Dare" scene.
6. Scut Farkas' last name is taken from the Norwegian word for "wolf." When he first appears on screen, “Wolf” from Sergei Prokofiev’s "Peter and the Wolf" plays in the background.
7. The Davey Crockett hat Farkas wears wouldn't actually become popular until the 1950s, when the miniseries starring Fess Parker first aired.
8. Jack Nicholson was interested in the part of the father, but it would have doubled the film's production budget.
9. There is a 1980s math book on Miss Shield's desk.
10. According to actor Peter Billingsley (the actor playing Ralphie), every angry, mumbled word in his fight with Farkas was scripted.
11. Chattering wind-up teeth weren't invented until 1949, a few years after when the film was set.
12. Bing Crosby's album Merry Christmas can be heard in the background while the family opens presents on Christmas morning. The album wasn't released until 1945.
13. Christmas is misspelled on Ralphie's school theme. The title reads "What I Want For Chistmas.”
14. The film inspired the television show The Wonder Years.
15. Wil Wheaton auditioned for the role of Ralphie.
16. Director Bob Clark makes a cameo as Swede, the neighbor impressed by Mr. Parker's major award.
17. Jean Shepherd, the film's screenwriter and narrator, appears in the scene at the mall informing Ralphie and Randy that the end of the line to meet Santa is much farther down the aisle.
18. It took director Bob Clark (left) and writer Jean Shepherd (right) 10 years to complete the concept for the film.
19. It was director Bob Clark's success with his previous film, the not family-friendly Porky's, that allowed him to finance this film.
20. The original short stories by Jean Shepherd serving as inspiration for the film were first published in issues of Playboy magazine.
Who knew such wholesome family fun could originate in something, well, less wholesome? Now I have to watch the film again. And again.